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Turkish prosecutors to investigate allegations of fabricated coup plot

Turkish prosecutors on Tuesday announced plans to investigate claims by Eskisehir Police Chief Hanefi Avci that evidence of several alleged coups plots, particularly Ergenekon [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], was fabricated. Avci alleged in a book he recently published, Devotee Residents of Halich: Yesterday State, Today Religious Congregation, that the evidence was distorted and fabricated [Sabah report, in Turkish] by followers of Islam preacher Fethullah Gulen [official website], in effort to weaken the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish]. Avci also claimed the Ergenekon trials were concocted by Turkey's government to silence critics [Today's Zaman report]. According to Turkey's Minister of Interior Bashir Atalay, a decision about further action regarding Avci's allegations will be made at the conclusion of the investigation [AA report, in Turkish]. While the prosecutor's office is now investigating Avci's allegations, Avci himself is the subject of a separate investigation [Hurriyet report] in connection with his book.

Over the last several years there have been a number of high-profile arrests of police and military officials over alleged coups in Turkey. The trial for 33 Ergenekon defendants opened [JURIST report] in June. In March, the Turkish government indicted the 33 defendants [JURIST report] on charges of attempting to overthrow the government and establish military rule. Earlier that week, Turkish police detained 20 people [JURIST report] in connection with the Ergenekon plot. In early March, Turkish prosecutors charged [JURIST report] an army general and a state prosecutor with belonging to Ergenekon and plotting to overthrow the AKP. In February, more than 40 military officers were arrested and charged in a separate coup attempt [JURIST report], the so-called Sledgehammer plot [Al Jazeera backgrounder], to provoke a military confrontation with Greece and take advantage of the ensuing chaos. Trials against the Ergenekon group started [JURIST report] two years ago and nearly 200 people have been charged in connection with it.

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